Showing posts from January, 2020

What’s Popular for Kitchen Floors, Lighting and Appliances

Hardwood Is the No. 1 Flooring Choice Natural hardwood is the top choice (29%) among homeowners upgrading flooring as part of their kitchen renovation, followed by ceramic or porcelain tile (23%) and vinyl or resilient flooring (14%). This is a reversal from last year, when hardwood slipped from the No. 1 spot to become the second-most popular option behind ceramic or porcelain tile. In fact, until this year hardwood had been declining in popularity each of the five years Houzz has tracked the data. Its shift back to the No. 1 spot for upgraded kitchen flooring in remodeled kitchens is likely due to the rising cost of wood-like materials — including engineered wood and laminate — as a result of tariffs and other trade policies affecting imports from China, according to the study. Another notable shift is vinyl or resilient flooring’s rise to the No. 3 spot this year, a first since Houzz began tracking the data five years ago. These materials accounted for 12% of upgraded floor

Is Senate Bill 50 Dead?

Senate Bill 50 is dead. Or is it? That question hovered over the California State Legislature the past two days while Senator Scott Wiener’s bill to allow mid-rise apartments and condominiums near transit stops made its way to a final floor vote. The bill was voted down Wednesday — only to be brought back for another unsuccessful vote on Thursday. In the end, after failing to muster a majority, Toni Atkins, the Senate president pro tem, gave a speech in which she declared that even though the bill is now gone, something like it will pass this year and called on senators to “step up” and hash out a compromise. The final vote capped one of the most dramatic Senate sessions in recent years. During a two-hour debate on Wednesday, lawmakers alternated between statements about the gravity of California’s housing crisis and a reluctance to upend the state’s governance and low-density roots. One senator would talk about homelessness and three-hour super-co

The gap between renting and buying has narrowed nationwide

The gap between renting and owning has seemed to narrow across the U.S. The fourth quarter of 2019 saw rising rents, record-low mortgage rates and  fluctuating home prices , making  purchasing a home  during this time more do-able compared to last year. According to a report from , it’s still  more expensive  to purchase a home than rent one in 84% of the nation’s larger counties. The monthly cost to purchase a median-priced home in the U.S. during Q4 2019 was $1,600, while the median monthly rent was $1,319. However, buying the median home accounts for an average of 30% of the national median income, while renting takes an average of 25%, according to the report. Although renting is a favorable option for some, 84% of 593 U.S. counties analyzed still favor renting over buying, while 26 of those counties switched from being more affordable to rent in to being more affordable to buy in. analyzed the top areas where buying is more affordable than ren

Home Ownership Rate Rises To A Six Year High

The U.S. homeownership rate rose in the fourth quarter to the highest level in six years as low mortgage financing costs helped more people to buy properties. The share of Americans who own their own home was  65.1% , rising from 64.8% in the same period a year earlier, the  Census Department  said in a report on Thursday. The homeownership rate hasn’t been this high since the third quarter of 2013. The real estate market is continuing to dig itself out of the crater that resulted from the housing crash that began in 2007. The homeownership rate  tumbled  to a five-decade low of 62.9% in 2016 after 10 million families lost their homes to foreclosure when reckless lending led to widespread defaults. To put the fourth quarter’s 65.1% in perspective, it took almost nine years – measuring from the beginning of 1996 when the rate was 65.1% – to reach the all-time high of 69.2% at the end of 2004 when President George W. Bush was re-elected to his second term. Remember the “owners

Historically low inventory continues driving home prices higher

The dramatically limited supply of houses for sale is continuing to drive an increase in home prices as buyers are often left fighting over the few houses that are on the market. According to the latest Case-Shiller Home Price Index from S&P Dow Jones Indices and CoreLogic , there was a 3.5% annual increase in home prices in November 2019, up from 3.2% in October. That means that prices accelerated faster in November than they did in October, with low inventory serving as one of main factors. “After a yearlong slowdown in 2019, home values appear primed to go back on the upswing to start 2020. The main driver in this reversal is clearly the ongoing and historic lack of for-sale inventory, though a strong job market, stabilizing geopolitical tensions and still-low mortgage rates have played their part,” Zillow Economist Matthew Speakman said in a response to the Case-Shiller report. As Speakman notes, inventory is approaching historic lows, which will only exacerbate the

Millennials are looking forward to buying a home, but feel overwhelmed by the process

Millennials are buying homes. This much is known. But, despite the much-discussed generation making their  entrance  into the housing market, many still are still very uneasy about the process. To try to get into the minds of millennials,  TD Bank  surveyed more than 850 millennials (which it categorizes as age 23-38) who are planning to buy their first home in 2020. According to TD Bank’s First-Time Homebuyer Pulse, 68% said they think now is the right time to buy a home and 52% are actively searching home listings online. But, 75% of first-time Millennial homebuyers admit they’re overwhelmed by the process of buying a home. As for what’s weighing on millennials’ minds, the answers vary. Just over half of those surveyed said they are worried about their job stability when it comes to looking for somewhere to live. Meanwhile, 35% said they are thinking about their relationship with their significant other, 57% said they are worried about the state of the economy, and 47%

Baby Boomers in Minnesota have the best credit scores

Baby Boomers in Minnesota had the highest credit scores among U.S. states and generations, according to a report from  Experian  on Thursday. Boomers in the state known as the Land of 10,000 Lakes had an average FICO score of 762 in 2019, almost 60 points higher than the national average of 703 among all members of the generation born from 1946 to 1964. North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Nebraska followed Minnesota as the top five states with the highest Baby Boomer credit scores. Boomers have longer credit histories than younger generations, which gives them an advantage in the matrix that measures how long credit accounts have been open. While Baby Boomers might frown on the everyone-wins “participation trophies” that became popular with Generation X, born from 1965 to 1980, they might appreciate a most-improved designation that reflects hard work. In this case, it goes to Nevada. Boomers in  Nevada  saw a 3.5% improvement in their credit scores in five years, accordi

10 Color Trends for Home Design in 2020

1. Beige and Neutral Shades Neutral tones are no longer there just to play up more daring colors: They now take the starring role in decorative palettes. This year we’ll see them on walls and furniture, energizing the final result with darker accessories or smaller pieces. Beiges are therefore in the spotlight, and they’re part of the natural palette that’s becoming more and more popular in interiors. “When it comes to decoration, Generations Y and X especially favor terra cotta and nude colors. Anything linked to the earth could not be trendier,” says trend hunter Vincent Grégoire, whose analysis was the basis for the theme of this edition of Maison & Objet, (Re)Generation. 2. From Sand to Vanilla Still within the neutral spectrum, other colors like sand, vanilla, straw and at times washed-out, toned-down yellows have become more popular. They add a soft warmth to interiors and, like other neutrals, they’re appreciated for their relaxing and soothing propert

Mortgage rates drop to three-month low

The average U.S. fixed rate for a 30-year mortgage fell to 3.6% this week, a three-month low. That’s 5 basis points below  last week  and 85 basis points below the 4.45% of the same week last year, according to the  Freddie Mac  Primary Mortgage Market Survey. Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, said mortgage rates now are about a quarter of a percentage point above historic all-time lows. The low financing costs are providing a boost to housing demand, he said. “The very  low rate environment  has clearly had an impact on the housing market as both  new construction  and  home sales  have surged in response to the decline in rates, the rebound in the  economy  and improving  financial market sentiment ,” Khater said. According to the survey, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.04% this week, falling from last week’s rate of 3.09%. This time last year, the 15-year FRM came in at 3.88%. The five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage averaged 3.28% this week, dec